The Traveling Nerd: “Tentacles,” Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey, California

The idea of the nerd has become tedious. Once a term of ridicule for smart, earnest, badly dressed kids resigned to not fitting in, words like geek are aspirational designations, shorthand for “I have stock options.” If you find yourself lamenting this change then March is your month: The 14th was National Pi Day, the anniversary of Einstein’s birthday, and—for you entomologist—Save a Spider Day. And did you know that March is Hexagonal Awareness Month? If all this whets your appetite for nerdish whimsy, we have some destinations where you might feel at home.

tentacles 1“Tentacles,” Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California
In the movie “Ghostbusters,” ur-nerd Egon (Harold Ramos) reveals that he collects “spores, molds, and fungus” for fun. But octopus, squid, and cuttlefish make for more intriguing, and colorful viewing. The cephalopod extravaganza is at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (though aquarium doesn’t do it justice: it’s really an ocean inlet walled by glass, the many tanks fed by the Pacific and, in one case, viewable through one of the largest single-paned windows in the world). You’ll find the cute (sea otters) and the majestic (kelp forests), but in the ambitious tentacles 3Tentacles exhibit you’ll see the squishy, eerie, and alien. Be mesmerized—right along with their prey—by the cuttlefish’s flashing colors, be unnerved by the problem-solving skills of the octopus (as you vow to avoid the big ones in the wild), and struggle to comprehend how big the giant squid can become, remembering that they’ll only get bigger as the oceans warm.

Adult admission is $39.95, but worth it. Visit for more information.

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